Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon asked for patience and calm as a third night of rioting after the shooting death in Ferguson of an unarmed black teenager descended into chaos.
The St. Louis suburb has been in turmoil since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot to death by a police officer on Saturday. Nixon's statement and announcement that he will be in North St. Louis County on Thursday came after the Democrat was criticized as missing in action as tensions escalated between protesters and Ferguson police.
The anger at Nixon comes as he is being mentioned as a possible presidential or vice presidential candidate on the 2016 Democratic ticket.
Nixon was elected to a second term in 2012 by 12 percentage points, even as President Obama lost Missouri — which has long been a bellwether in national politics.
Nixon helped fuel the speculation about 2016 when he said the Democratic field needs "a voice in the Heartland." When Politico asked if he could be that voice, the Missouri governor sidestepped. Earlier in the year, Nixon said he wouldn't rule anything out.
The Missouri governor issued a statement as tweets about Ferguson police responding to protesters with smoke bombs and tear gas went viral on Wednesday night. He called the situation "deeply troubling and does not represent who we are as Missourians or as Americans."